Insights: The Newsletter of the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship


Grant Hardy


punctuation, manuscripts, text, Book of Mormon


As is well known, when the words of the Book of Mormon were translated “by the gift and power of God,” there was no punctuation at all in the early manuscripts, and that is the way the translated text was delivered to E. B. Grandin’s print shop. Type-setter John Gilbert reported that when he sat down to prepare the text for publication, “every chapter . . . was one solid paragraph, without a punctuation mark, from beginning to end.”¹ So he added punctuation and paragraphing as he went along. He did a good job, especially for someone reading the book for the first time, but there are a few sentences that could have been punctuated in more than one way, with slightly different results. Since the punctuation of the Book of Mormon does not enjoy the same revealed status as the words themselves, it may be worth considering some of the alternatives.